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An XCOM 2 expansion pack? Sure looks like it...

I’d been glumly thinking it was all over for XCOM 2 [official site], as we’ve had a clutch of DLC followed by the officially-endorsed Long War mod. I figured it’d now be all quiet on the Solomonian front for a couple of years, until such time as Firaxis broke cover with a full new XCOM game. But no! Something is stirring. XCOM 2 is making an E3 reappearance next month, showing off something being referred to with the slogan ‘the real war begins.’ It could even be a title, you know. Whichever: it’s beginning to look a lot like expansion pack Christmas.

This is the SURPRISE TWEET ATTACK which seems to have suddenly brought XCOM 2 back to life:

There’s little to go on, other than this triptych of facts:

– whatever this is is appearing at the PC Gaming Show, the conference-within-a-conference organised by cheery RPS tribute site PC Gamer.

– XCOM 2 creative lead Jake Solomon has heavily implied on the Twitters that he’ll be in LA for E3, which would unlikely to be the case were this another Long War-style mega-mod.

– Traditionally, Firaxis puts out its major expansions within one to two years of the base game’s release, and we’re pretty squarely within that window right now (XCOM 2 was released in February 2016).

And, well, that’s it. I’m guessing ‘the real war begins’ won’t be its name, and neither will ‘real war’, which would be hilariously inappropriate for a game about psychic aliens. But what could that phrase imply? Larger squad sizes? Bigger battlefields? A strategy map mode that’s more about raising armies than shuffling back and forth across the planet to gather resources and visit the shop?

I mean, sure, I’d like to see those things, but again I’m going to look at Firaxis tradition, which is expansion packs that remix the middle or late game rather than reinvent things entirely. Look to the way Civ expansion packs bolt on religion or trade, or how XCOM the first’s Enemy Within slotted in robo-troopers as an optional unit upgrade path for the mid-game…

I think we’re better off thinking along those kinds of lines, but certainly I’d welcome anything that rethought how the rather bitty and naggy campaign map element works. More than anything, though: an excuse to go back. I will always take that.

More information as we have it. We will have boots on the ground at E3 gathering intel.

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Alec Meer

Senior Editor

Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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